‘Mrs. Monroe’ lauded for efforts

 

The past recipients of the Monroe Citizen of the Year award pose with Kay Inderdohnen. From left to right, Bernie Sippin, former Monroe First Selectman Karen Burnaska, Kay Inderdohnen, Enid Lipeles, Deborah Heim and Lee Hossler. — Kerry Condon photo

When Kay Inderdohnen first moved to Monroe in 1961, John F. Kennedy was president and the town’s population was a mere 6,400 people. In the years since, Inderdohnen has raised a family and served the town in a wide range of capacities — so much so, in fact, that she has come to be known by the nickname “Mrs. Monroe.”

Monroe Citizen of the Year Kay Inderdohnen converses with Vic Casaretti (President of Monroe Historical Society) at the reception held in her honor. — Kerry Condon photo

In recognition of her years of service to the town — both as an employee and as a volunteer — Inderdohnen was recently named Monroe’s “Outstanding Citizen of the Year” for 2018.

Inderdohnen met her late husband, Robert, in Washington, D.C., where she had gone to work. She was from New Britain and he was from Fairfield; they married and decided to move back to Connecticut to raise a family.

“We found a house in Monroe that we loved right from the start,” she recalled.

Monroe First Selectman Ken Kellogg presents Kay Inderdohnen with a specially commissioned piece of art by David Merrell with a frame custom made by Masuk teacher Doug Fedorko. — Kerry Condon photo

Inderdohnen’s first involvement in town affairs occurred when she served on a charter revision committee in the 1960s.

“Some residents brought a petition to eliminate the annual budget referendum,” said Inderdohnen, who was the mother of two boys by then. “It failed — but because they petitioned the town we had to form a charter revision committee.”

She went on to be elected to Town Council, serving from 1971 to 1973, and as the first woman police commissioner, from 1976 through 1979. Inderdohnen later served as deputy registrar of voters. She was elected town clerk in 1980 and served in that post until 2000.

State Rep. JP Sredzinski presents Kay Inderdohnen with her citation from our state senators. — Kerry Condon photo

Upon her retirement, Inderdohnen began working for the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library as an aide; she retired from that post last year. She continues to serve the library, but as a volunteer, primarily in the children’s department. She also volunteers at Masuk High School’s library every Friday and is a longtime member of the Friends of the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.

“I’ve also long been part of the Monroe Scholarship Fund,” said Inderdohnen, who now has three grandsons who all live nearby. The fund awards scholarships each year to Masuk grads; one of Inderdohnen’s responsibilities is the fund-raising letter that goes out every year. “We give annual scholarships to Masuk grads and I work on the fund-raising letters we send out every year.”

The award was begun in 2011 and all candidates are nominated by the public. A committee of community members evaluates the candidates and selects the award recipient in a closed ballot. Past recipients have included Bernie Sippin (2011), Karen Burnaska (2012), Enid Lipeles (2013), Diane Mellen (2014), Deb Heim (2015), Nancy Zorena (2016), and Lee Hossler (2017).

Inderdohnen was feted at the May 14 Town Council meeting, during which a video profile was aired. In addition, she received a one-of-a-kind Citizen of the Year award sculpture, the creation of Masuk’s own Doug Fedorko. Fedorko is retiring this year as head of the school’s woodshop after a 38-year career.

“Kay Inderdohnen exemplifies a relentless commitment to community — our community,” said First Selectman Ken Kellogg. “Thank you, Kay, for everything you’ve done.”

“You’re very welcome,” Inderdohnen replied simply. “It is, always, my pleasure.”

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